IRS says $1 billion in tax refunds available to people who did not file tax returns in 2020, 2021

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Monday, April 15, 2024
$1B in unclaimed tax refunds from past years still available, IRS says
The IRS says there's $1 billion in past tax refunds from 2020, 2021 and 2022 to people who did not file tax returns in those years.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Here's some good news on Tax Day: you may have extra money owed to you.

The IRS says there is a $1 billion on the table, refunds owed to people who never filed a return in 2020. You can also cash in from other recent tax years too.

A billion dollars is available to the nearly 940,000 people who didn't file a federal tax return in 2020. The deadline to file is May 17 of this year. If you don't file by then, you're out of luck.

"If you're not able to obtain your tax refund, it becomes the property of the IRS, the property of the federal government. So you do have three years to claim that refund. After that time you're no longer able to claim it," said former IRS criminal investigator and Certified Public Accountant Kemberley Washington, who is now a tax expert at Forbes Advisor.

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Washington said the money owed is from standard tax refunds, but you could collect even more because in 2020, many people were owed a Recovery Rebate Credit if they qualified for a COVID-19 stimulus check but for some reason didn't get it.

"The individuals who didn't receive the full stimulus payment or receive the partial credit that money is still on a table, but not just the stimulus payments," Washington said. "But also we have other credits that you have yet to file your tax return, such as maybe a child tax credit, or whatever credit that may be applicable to your tax situation."

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Washington said this is also a reminder that you could be leaving tax returns behind from the 2021 tax year when there were more stimulus payments you may have missed, meaning those recovery rebate credits could be yours. You may even have a refund owed to you from the 2022 tax year.

"A good percentage of those who are typically not required to file, for instance, this may be a person who typically receive just social security, and they're not used to following a tax return. They may be unaware that this money is available to them, and that they would need to file this tax return," Washington explained.

No matter which tax year you missed, you have three years to file a tax return before your refund goes back to government. The 2020 deadline was extended to May 17 because that year's tax deadline was also extended at the time.

Click here for more information on past due returns from the IRS.